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In a Mage the Ascension Revised Edition game, does a Virtual Adept need the Spirit sphere to go to the Digital Web?

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YES.

Correspondence is cool, but

  • any "remote" modification of living beings requires Life (and materials - Matter),
  • exemplary Sphere Effects indicate so: whereami? requires Spirit level 1 to guess in which Astral Domain you are or Mind to realize it's a dream/hallucination; window requires Time or Spirit to watch different eras / worlds.
  • Umbra = Spirit. Digital Web = Umbra. Therefore Digital Web = Spirit.

I've written this mostly from memory, but I doubt revised changed this.

Of course, if your GM says you can, you can... then so can everybody else and that makes Spirit kinda irrelevant Sphere.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Also, I think in the Digital Web book, or maybe the virtual adepts one there are recepies to connect with mind, more or less like an Astral walk. With Mind you leave your body behind and with Spirit you carry your body with you when you create your icon. \$\endgroup\$ – Random Mar 4 '14 at 9:40
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The 20th Anniversary edition of Mage has a whole chapter on the digital web, based on the revised edition Digital Web book which includs several ways to get there starting on p466 under 'Web Access':

  • Sensory Visitation
  • Astral Immersion
  • Holistic Immersion

None of which require a Spirit effect to work:

astral immersion requires good VR equipment (by 2015, you could use a high-grade smart phone or tablet with correct programs and the right apps), an Intelligence + Computer roll (three successes, difficulty 7), and at least two dots in the Correspondence Sphere

or

holistic immersion requires specially equipped Trinary computer Devices, an extended Intelligence + Computer roll (five successes, difficulty 7), and a Life 4/ Correspondence 2/ Forces 2 Effect

This is because the Digital Web is treated as a special case:

As far as rules are concerned, we suggest treating the Digital Web as a Realm of the Middle Umbra, subject to Whiteout Paradox backlashes and accessed by several forms of astral and metaphysical projection, as outlined under Web Access , below. Keep things as simple as possible, and treat weird online life forms as spirit entities – several of which appear in Appendix I. If and when you want to get into the more complex and peculiar aspects of the Digital Web, check out Digital Web 2.0. Although those systems are based in the late ‘90s, many of the specific rules still apply.

However it is still possible to access the Digital Web using Spirit but you have to travel in the Umbra to get to it, not simply cross over.

So a Virtual Adept generally has little need for the Spirit sphere as Correspondence can be used to duplicate many Spirit effects within the Digital Web. e.g. Rather than summoning a spirit you teleport an entity within the digital web

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No, but it makes things easier. I and my past gaming groups have always run off the sufficiently advanced sphere theory. If you have a high enough mastery of a given sphere then you can imitate the low dot effects of other spheres. I would say as a GM that 'enough' dots in correspondence and/or mind would be enough to mental broadcast you there, but you would need at least 5 in one to make the trip physically without any spirit.

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